AVIATION SAFETY NEWSLETTER
Thought for the month....
Things should be made as simple as possible,
but not any simpler (Albert Einstein)
You paid for it... Are you
getting all that you paid for? Whether you are an owner or renter do you get what you are supposed to get to keep
the wolf (FAA) away from your door? Let's look at what you are entitled to vs. non-entitlements if you are an
First, we have to look into Part 91 Subpart E. This subpart is titled, "Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, and Alterations." A fair portion of pilots, whether they own or rent, see the title of this subpart and figure that this section applies to mechanics. Nothing can be further from the truth. There are 12 rules in this subpart and not one of them can be imposed on a person exercising the privileges of a mechanics certificate. Read through any one of them and two phrases keep repeating, "no person" or "the owner or operator".
This places the responsibility on the person who is either flying the aircraft, owns the aircraft, OR BOTH. When you read these rules they may appear more as responsibilities than entitlements. But, when we link them to their counterparts in Part 43, the rules that are applied to people who do maintenance or preventive maintenance, we can see how they become entitlements.
The 1st Link: §91.403(b) says that nobody can perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations unless it is done in accordance with Part 43. §43.3 gives authorization to do preventive maintenance under our pilot's certificate on airplanes we operate or own (entitlement).
The 2nd Link: §91.407(a) says that nobody can fly the aircraft after maintenance or preventive maintenance unless a record was made and it has been approved for return to service. §91.405 prohibits flight until the work record has been made and the work is approved for return to service. §43.9 and §91.417 both spell out what a record content needs to be. If you contracted with somebody to work on your aircraft you are entitled to get a maintenance record that satisfies §43.9.
The 3rd Link: §91.405 says that between inspections (read annual/100 hour) discrepancies must be fixed. §91.7 prohibits aircraft from being flown unless they are airworthy. This means that all instruments and equipment are operating properly unless they are deferred in accordance with §91.213. §43.3 permits pilots to perform work that is listed as preventative maintenance in Appendix A of Part 43 (entitlement). All other work is maintenance and must either be performed or supervised by a certified mechanic.
If you are doing maintenance or preventive maintenance you must do that work in accordance with the requirements of Part 43. §43.13 is what really trips everybody up. Simply stated it says that we must use the manufacturer's maintenance manual or other FAA acceptable information when doing any work. We must also use materials that are equal to the original part and do our work to a standard that will return the aircraft to its original or properly altered (approved) condition.
The extra: §91.417(2)(v) says your aircraft records have to include the current status of Airworthiness Directives, the method of compliance, the revision date, and if a recurring action when the next time that action is due. §43. 9 requires a description of the work performed. It does not obligate the maintenance technician to indicate a revision date or, if a recurring AD, when the next action is due (disconnect). This is where many owners come up short. They are expecting the mechanic to complete all record requirements for the owner. But, the mechanic is not required to enter that information in the record, and many times they don't. That doesn't relieve the owner's responsibility to satisfy §91.417 though. To correct this the owner can make that entry in the maintenance records. There is no rule that prohibits this, so as the saying goes, "just do it".
If you chose to work on the airplanes you fly or own and opt to not comply with the regulations it is quite possible that no one will ever find out…unless, for some unfortunate few, an occurrence happens that puts you in the sights of the FAA. Then you'll have to defend your actions against the regulations sited above. If you choose to have a properly certified person perform the work, be sure you get what the regulations call for. After all…you paid for it.
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